HATTIESBURG, Miss. – The Mississippi State Department of Health has confirmed a possible measles exposure in three Hattiesburg locations.
According to state health officials the contagious out-of-state traveler stopped at a Subway in Circle K on Highway 11 between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Tuesday, April 9. He also stopped at the Turtle Creek Mall Food Court the next day on Wednesday, April 10 between noon and 2 p.m. and later that night at Raising Canes Chicken Fingers between 10 p.m. and 11 p.m.
Medical professionals are reminding people that measles is a virus. According to Hattiesburg Clinic Immediate Care Dr. Samuel Crosby the virus cannot reproduce on its own without a host cell. “If they weren’t in there at the same time or within two hours of that patient being there, they don’t have anything to worry about. Now, during that two hour window you could still be exposed to the virus,” Dr. Crosby said.
However, medical professionals say if you were at these locations during the two hour window there is a 90 percent chance you could have contracted the highly contagious virus. If you are concerned, Southern Regional Health Officer, Dr. Christy Barnett, says “Please do not go to the doctor’s office, E.R. immediately. Call first. Call your health care provider so we can make arrangements for you to come in and be evaluated in a safe manner and not expose other people who may be at risk,”
Dr. Crosby says measles is a virus that is known to lead to further complications, “About one in 10 will get ear infections or diarrhea with it, the problem is about one in 20 develop pneumonia and that’s the most common cause for people dying,”
State health officials say there are no cases of the measles in Mississippi. The department will monitor the Hattiesburg area closely for patients who may have symptoms. The monitoring period will last for 21 days, ending on May 2.